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Pardew accuses Bent of taking "safe option"
Pardew remains confident of signing another striker before the transfer window closes at the start of next month, despite Newcastle admitting defeat in their pursuit of both Darren Bent and Bafetimbi Gomis.
Bent signed a season-long loan at Fulham yesterday, with a view to making a permanent switch at the end of the campaign, and could make his Cottagers debut in today’s opening-day game with his former club, Sunderland, at the Stadium of Light.
Joe Kinnear, who has completed just one signing in his two months as director of football, met Bent's representatives two weeks ago, but Newcastle were unwilling to match Aston Villa's £6m valuation of the England international, or match his wage demands of around £65,000-a-week.
Fulham firmed up their own approach last week, and while Newcastle made a last-minute attempt to scupper the striker's move to Craven Cottage, Bent spurned their advances.
“I think he was close in terms of the deal, but Darren’s decided his future lies elsewhere and I wish him all the best,” said Pardew. “It was very obvious that I thought he would do well here.
“Obviously you can't have contact with the player, but I know Darren well enough to think we had something which he was going to enjoy.
“But he has opted for Fulham and I think perhaps that is a safer option. Were the Sunderland links a factor? Possibly yes, and maybe the profile of this club as well. It is bigger than Fulham's, that's just a fact.”
As well as missing out on Bent, Newcastle have also admitted defeat in their long-running pursuit of Gomis.
Despite agreeing a fee with Lyon for the France international, Newcastle officials have notified their counterparts at the Ligue 1 club that their interest is at an end after a series of financial obstacles prevented the completion of a deal.
Loic Remy is the only senior player to have moved to St James' Park this summer, but the Frenchman will not be involved in Monday's opening game at Manchester City as he has missed the whole of pre-season with a calf problem.
Pardew insists Newcastle are capable of springing a surprise at the Etihad Stadium despite the failure to add to a squad that could only finish 16th last season.
But with Kinnear now assessing new targets, the Magpies manager admits it is imperative that an attacking reinforcement arrives before the start of next month.
“We've been actively pursuing two or three players, and we would still like to get one or two in,” said Pardew. “I don't see a lot of late business for us, but I do think we need another striker in.
“I think we've got a strong side, but I still maintain, and stats don't lie, in terms of threat at goal, we need a bit more offensively. Last season, especially after Demba (Ba) left, our goal ratio and shot ratio dropped off and our offensive impact in terms of putting a team on the back foot was affected.
“When you have two strikers of high calibre, teams are very reluctant to step on to you. But they did after Demba left and that was a problem for us. We need to get the team selection right, but we also need options in those areas. We've got Remy, but I still think we need another.”
With Remy remaining on Tyneside to build up his match fitness, Papiss Cisse is set to start as a lone striker on Monday night.
Steven Taylor and Jonas Gutierrez will both be involved despite struggling with toe and calf injuries respectively, but Davide Santon is unlikely to feature after damaging his hip during the pre-season programme.
With Massadio Haidara also injured, Pardew does not have an experienced left-back at his disposal. Paul Dummett has made a number of pre-season outings, but given that the 21-year-old is still to make his Premier League debut, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is more likely to start at the Etihad Stadium as Newcastle look to neuter a Manchester City attack that could feature summer signings Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Alvara Negredo.
“Davide has a problem and I think he's doubtful for the game,” said Pardew. “I gave (Mark) Noble, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain and (Jonjo) Shelvey debuts at 16 so I have no problem with age.
“In terms of where he (Dummett) is at and the pre-season he has had, he has put himself in real contention, but Man City away would be a tough call for him having not made his debut for us yet.
“You're either ready or you're not, and throwing into the deep end sometimes works. But up against him would be Navas, who in my opinion is probably the best signing of the summer. He's a little bit special.
“That's something we'll think about, but going forward, I'd expect him to make ten first-team starts this season.”
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